Two separate illustrations of an animal head and a fire on a mountain

Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

Start Free Trial

What factors prevent Piggy from adapting to life on the island in Lord of the Flies?

Quick answer:

There are a number of factors that contribute to Piggy's inability to conform with life on the island in Lord of the Flies. For one thing, he's overweight. He's also short-sighted, and this, combined with his weight problem, makes him a figure of fun among most of the other boys. For good measure, he also suffers from asthma.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

It becomes patently obvious quite early on in the story that Piggy's not really cut out for life on a desert island. For one thing, he's not physically robust enough to withstand the numerous challenges that such a life entails.

Piggy is an asthmatic, which naturally makes it more difficult for him to deal with life on the island. In addition, he's overweight—which is where he gets his cruel nickname from—and short-sighted, which necessitates his wearing glasses.

All of these factors combine to make Piggy a figure of fun among most of the other boys. One can reasonably infer that he's been picked on at school. But at least there was some kind of adult supervision there, whereas here, on a desert island, there's none whatsoever—so Piggy is even more vulnerable than he was at school.

A further handicap that afflicts Piggy is his ability to reason. On the face of it, that might sound like a good thing, but when most of the boys on the island descend into outright savagery, being rational doesn't really help all that much.

In fact, if anything, it's a hindrance, because he doesn't share the same violent, savage mindset as those who would destroy him. And so, he's unable to hit back hard against them, a situation compounded by his asthma, short-sightedness, and weight problem.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial